Trouble in Utopia

The Overburdened Polity of Israel

By Dan Horowitz & Moshe Lissak

Subjects: Israel Studies, Jewish Studies
Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Paperback : 9780791401149, 357 pages, October 1989
Hardcover : 9780791401125, 357 pages, October 1989

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Table of contents


1. Introduction: Israel as a Social Laboratory

2. Israel as a Multi-Cleavage Society

3. Ideology and Political Culture

4. Government and Politics: From a Dominant Center to a Dual Center

5. Democracy and National Security in a Protracted Conflict

6. Israel at Forty: Utopia Impaired




Selected Bibliography



This book provides a thorough and detailed examination of Israeli institutions and how they function. It explains the decline in effectiveness of the government and the spread of cultural malaise in the Israel of the eighties. Horowitz and Lissak trace the integrative and disintegrative trends in Israel and show how a society that had laid the foundations for a cohesive Jewish nation-state became increasingly vulnerable to centrifugal forces.

The book not only reflects a broad and comprehensive approach, but also focuses on themes that cut across institutional structures, such as the weakening of social and political cohesion in an overburdened polity.


At the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Dan Horowitz is Professor of Political Science and Sociology and Moshe Lissak is Professor of Sociology. They are co-authors of Origins of the Israeli Polity, and each has written other books.